The real Rich Men North of Richmond.
Could I ask you to reconsider phrasing like "Washington DC is, in fact, a shiny bubble of disconnected elites"? The District of Columbia has one of the highest poverty rates and inequality rates in the country and I fervently believe that conflating the city with political/lobbying "elites" (many of whom live in the suburbs, or even other parts of the country) contributes to a way of thinking that does real harm to the many disadvantaged people living in DC.
To paraphrase your own piece, this clarified and put into words a thought or feeling that I’ve already had
Articles like this is why I pay you each month. The working class like this guy only see the guys on the supermarket line in front of him using eBt for sugary food. So the fat cat on park ave he doesn’t know or understand. And you are out there to educate him. We need more union outreach to people like him. Maybe join his Facebook groups and spread the word? What are other ways to get the message out to rural areas and break the Reagan spell of trickle down economics?
Whooo! Hot damn. Straight on. Corporations create child abuse and neglect, poverty, illness, homelessness, rage with the greed of the Boards and C-Suiters. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the kid who’s left home alone because the mom cannot afford daycare and she cannot afford to lose her crappy paying job where she is hit on by her boss and hears sexist-racist-ageist comments day-in and day out. Where she lives in fear of losing a job she hates because it’s the only way to keep an overpriced leaky roof over her head and a few bites of poisoned Frankenfood in her belly, and the bellies of her terrified children, who yearn to connect with her but know, when she gets home from work and the wearing ways of the world, their mamma is a heartbeat away from tears or tearing things up. Because she is FRIED. Toasted, roasted, friend, and broasted by a system bent to keep her in her place. Where they can use her up the way enslavers did 150 years ago. And have her live in fear while at the same time she is to be grateful that she “gets to keep her job.”
Agreed! We need to be pissed off. Collected, connected, unionized, energized and ready to back each other up on flipping the script here.
Bernie Sanders has it right. Elizabeth Warren is ON IT. We missed it in 2016 by letting Bernie get screwed. Get Biden back in and save democracy but in the meantime let’s get it together and rally around folks such as David Hogg, who’s trying to help the Dems fire up young people to elect scientists. And rally around Bernie and Elizabeth. I’m doing my best by trying to show the world how trauma is making the perpetuation of these insane SYSTEMs created to keep Rich people rich and to suck money from poor people keep hurting people, and that there is a better way.
Register to vote.
See how to support unions.
Support democrats - especially women Dems and unions.
Read Heather Cox Richardson, Thom Hartmann, Robert Reich and this guy.
Talk to young people and help them register to vote.
Promise to take older people to the polls.
Volunteer for Dems in your area.
Democracy is at stake. Unions are democracy at work.
"Just as the ruling class sees all that rage as something to be stifled and redirected and dissipated, the left has to know that that rage is our raw material. That is our fuel."
This is so right. It makes me sick. I thought you were going to say more about how the “elites” are channeling rage toward minorities, not just government. I feel that racism is a huge reason for resentment of social safety net benefits.
Subscribed today, and LOVED this piece. The only thing I believe you didn’t directly address is what I (and I’m sure many people) see as a “Lost Cause” subtext.
It’s not good salt of the earth people like me -- it’s those northern bureaucrats giving food stamps to undeserving people, and the undeserving people are wasting it (buying food). Maybe I missed it in your excellent piece, but I thought the song’s overlay of capitalism and white supremacy was important enough to mention. Really terrific essay. Thank you!!
Excellent. I screenshot and circled several parts of this today! What makes all this difficult too is that the wealthy are so good at making it seem like everyone has the same access to money as they do, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and plenty of people fall for it. When things don’t turn out to be that easy, the sausage-making of the rich remains hidden, and the only ones to argue with are the people in front of us.
Good piece and we need a lot more like this. The Reagan "revolution" succeeded in driving a wedge between working people and the really poor. It is a tough mindset to overcome; that people on food stamps and receiving any form of public assistance are simply lazy and have their hands in the pockets of hard-working folks. We need more organizing campaigns directed to this demographic -- working class white people living in small towns and rural areas. The Dem Party makes very little effort to win over this constituency. They flock to Trump because he says the system is rigged against them. He's right.
In Bernie's campaigns he also talked about the system being rigged against working people - but he placed the blame where it belongs, as Hamilton has presented in this piece. Nothing is easy, but if the Dem Party would spend more $ on organizers who understand and like spending time with working people rather than TV spots and other propaganda telling us what a danger Trump is we would have a lot more progress.
Very good analysis of the ongoing “misdirection” (quoting Shoshana Zuboff in Surveillance Capitalism quoting magicians as to how they fool their audience) used by ruling class and its agents.
And very good on the idea of winning over these folks through conversation/explanation/common ground. Sounds a lot like organizing.
As I read this, I kept thinking about James McMurtry's "We Can't Make It Here", a country-esque song which seems to accurately identify the villains of our story. I don't think that it was ever a hit. I can't even remember how I found it several years back.
Would like to see someone explain to Oliver the rich man IN Richmond, his Governor, who used to be the CEO of private equity monster, the Carlyle Group, and how he should probably be more angry at guys like that....
From my post below, The Despicable Rich, an additional take on why the very wealthy are tolerated.
"I suppose I’m musing about whether in a subtle, almost subliminal way attitudes toward inequality are softened by the preponderance of stories where the rich self-sabotage themselves into unhappy or even tragic circumstances. Could the schadenfreude produced by these stories be the modern equivalent of bread and circuses?"
Right on! Clear, lucid, honest and clears the fog of oppression and deceit.
How we all need to respond to every shiny new "culture war" skirmish.
Great piece, but when Oliver hits it big, he'll hate those taxes even MORE! (Same for many hit-it-big fantasizers in his audience.)